One big reason that Jesus has to be God in the flesh is so that people on Judgment Day cannot accuse God of not knowing what it is like to be tempted to sin (Hebrews 4:15 and 2 Corinthians 5:21). God is just.

Every cult that I’ve studied claims that Jesus is not equal to God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses go one step further by proclaiming He was Michael the archangel incarnate and therefore was also a created being by God. The Word of God in Hebrews 1:5, however, clearly states, “To which of the angels did He [God] ever say, ‘Thou art My Son….?’” Further in v6, it states, “And let the angels of God worship Him [Jesus].” Each time I’ve brought this up with them, they hesitate and sometimes just change the subject.

This leads me to my next point. One thing that has always caught my attention is something that Jesus never did. When people worshiped Him or addressed Him as their God, He did not stop them or correct them. After Thomas stuck his hand into Jesus’ wounds following His resurrection, he called Jesus his God (John 20:28). If He is not God, then He is guilty of breaking the First Commandment. Anytime in Scripture when a mere human or angel began to be worshiped, they stopped it immediately. Not so with Jesus.

As far as the notion that Jesus was some created being, we look to an impressive prophecy regarding Jesus’ birthplace in Micah 5:2: “But thou Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.” This future Messianic Ruler existed in eternity past. There was no beginning to Him. Also, Jesus’ prayer to the Father in John 17:5 says, “And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.” Here, Jesus reveals a glimpse into that eternal realm and He was always with God.

Colossians 1:16 states that Jesus created all things and in verse 18 that He was the “firstborn.” This term does not mean He was created as the Jehovah‘s Witnesses claim. It means that He was the first one to rise from the dead and was the One that ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven to mankind.

God goes so far as to address His Son as God in Hebrews 1:8: “But of the Son, He [God] says, ‘Thy throne O God, is forever and ever….’” But perhaps the biggest clincher of all is found in John 9:58. The Jews were opposing Jesus, claiming that Abraham was way more important than He. Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” This stung the Jews to fury because they knew what Jesus meant. When Moses asked God for His name in Exodus 3:13-14, God told him it was “I AM WHO I AM.” Moses was to tell the Jews of his day that “I AM” was sending him to them. Jehovah (Yahweh in Hebrew) basically means “self-existent one.” In other words, Jesus was stating that He was always in existence, without beginning. No one in their right mind has ever made this claim as Jesus did about Himself, unless, of course they were insane or lying. If we made a movie, there would have to be some extraordinary music for drama when Jesus said this.

There are several other Scriptures indicating Jesus’ equality with God. One strong one is Colossians 2:8-9: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men…for in Him [Jesus] all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form…and he is the head over all rule and authority.” If Jesus contains the fullness of Deity and has the highest authority, there can be no other entity higher. The context of this passage is filled with insight when we consider that verse 8 describes what cults do.

This leads to my next point regarding cults. Perhaps the other strongest Scripture passage supporting Christ’s deity is found in John 1:1,14 where it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….and the Word became flesh…” The Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, change v1 to read, “and the word was a god.” I have read that no reputable Greek scholar/translator would do such a thing.

A wonderful connection between Jesus and God comes from Isaiah 44:6: “Thus says the LORD [Jehovah], the king of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts, ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.’” Notice that both Jehovah and the Redeemer are claiming to be God together. But was this really referring to Jesus? Revelation 1:8 assures us that it was. The context has Jesus speaking, “I am the Alpha and the Omega [first & last] says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” The phrase “who is” refers to God (Jesus) always existing. “Who was” refers to God coming to earth in human form. “Who is to come” refers to Christ’s Second Coming.

There are Scriptures, however, that separate the role of Father from the role of Son. In Matthew 24:36, Jesus spoke of His Second Coming by saying, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” This difference can be better explained by the concept contained in Philippians 2:5-11 which describes God’s willingness to “empty Himself” of all the rights and privileges of being God to demonstrate the utmost work of humility possible, thus eventually elevating Jesus’ name above EVERY name. So during His ministry on earth, God limited Himself to reach fallen mankind. If God came in His normal form, sinful humans would perish (remember, even Moses was not permitted to see God’s face). The Son, at this time, was not omnipresent and He did not know all things like the Father. But this, I believe, was about to change right after His ascension when Jesus sat down at “the right hand of the Father” (which symbolizes ultimate power and authority, not a separation from God).

One other Scripture speaks of this purposeful, temporary lowering of God into the Son role. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which he suffered.” Think about it, how could the highest authority learn to submit to a higher authority? God accomplished this seemingly impossible task by coming to earth as a mere man with limitations. I think that this may have been the devil’s ONLY chance to get God to sin – when He was in His weakest form! (My thought here, therefore it could be wrong). Why would God allow Himself to be tempted to sin? I believe because He had to master it, since Cain (and all others) could not. In Genesis 4:7, God told an angry Cain that sin was about to overcome him and that he “must master it.” Cain not only did not master it, he murdered his younger brother Abel. Since then, no human has been able to master sin. So God changed His “form” (Phil. 2:6) and subjected Himself to the same temptations that all humans face, yet He did not sin (Heb. 4:15).

In summation, while it may be impossible to totally understand the concept of the “three-in-one God,” Scripture is clear about the identity of Jesus Christ. I once asked a veteran Jehovah’s Witness, “If your Jehovah came to earth as a man, would He do anything different than Jesus Christ?“ Well, I felt he had to say “yes” because to them, one is less than the other. So he did say “yes,” but he never said what that would be. I rested my case. At one point in Jesus’ ministry, Philip was perhaps a bit frustrated with all Jesus’ talk about the Father in heaven and finally blurted out to Him, “Show us the Father and it is enough for us.” Jesus replied, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?” I think old Phil was as quiet as my Jehovah’s Witness vet. Perhaps John summed it up in the most concise manner, “Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23).